Nov 13, 2012

Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: coal the fuel of choice?

Will coal remain a fuel of choice? The International Energy Agency raises that question in its 

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

Will coal remain a fuel of choice? The International Energy Agency raises that question in its 2012 World Energy Outlook released this week. The agency notes that coal has met nearly half of the rise in global energy demand over the last decade, growing faster even than total renewables. Whether coal demand carries on rising strongly or changes course will depend on the strength of policy measures that favour lower-emissions energy sources, the deployment of more efficient coal-burning technologies and, especially important in the longer term, carbon capture and storage. The agency explains:
"The policy decisions carrying the most weight for the global coal balance will be taken in Beijing and New Delhi -- China and India account for almost three-quarters of projected non-OECD coal demand growth (OECD coal use declines). China's demand peaks around 2020 and is then steady to 2035; coal use in India continues to rise and, by 2025, it overtakes the United States as the world’s second-largest user of coal. Coal trade continues to grow to 2020, at which point India becomes the largest net importer of coal, but then levels off as China’s imports decline. The sensitivity of these trajectories to changes in policy, the development of alternative fuels (e.g. unconventional gas in China) and the timely availability of infrastructure, create much uncertainty for international steam coal markets and prices."
The aphrodisiac of power. From a senior delegate to the Chinese Communist Party's national congress comes the news that beautiful women prefer Communist party cadres. New wave pollsters -- Essential and Google are best. About a month ago in these snippets I declared Essential Research to be "my favourite pollster". That conversion (I had many months previously, wrongly, rather dismissed its relevance for being some new-fangled internet thing) was based on what seemed to me to be sensibly small weekly changes in its findings rather than the dramatic ups-and-downs of the other pollsters. Essential results seemed to tally much better with what Rod Cameron and Margie Gibbs of ANOP used to present me with when working on Labor election campaigns. Now perhaps I have found an explanation, other than my own gut reaction, of why the pollster Crikey publishes each week might in fact be a better guide than Newspoll and AC Nielsen. Nate Silver, the election prediction guru of The New York Timeswrote yesterday how, as Americans' modes of communication change, the techniques that produce the most accurate polls seem to be changing as well. In Tuesday’s presidential election, he says, a number of polling firms that conduct their surveys online had strong results. Some telephone polls also performed well. But others, especially those that called land lines only or took other methodological shortcuts, performed poorly.

As Silver writes:

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One thought on “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: coal the fuel of choice?

  1. spoetmoenkey

    Essential jumps around less because the figures they publish are a two-week rolling average. Nothing to do with collection method, everything to do with half of last week’s sample still being in this week’s sample. Simples!

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